>> reporter: from noah and the ark to the garden of eden, bible stories echo through the life of pi. the name of the ship, tsimtsum, comes from the jewish mystical teaching that god contracted to make room for creation. and then there's the tiger, a god-like figure whose very presence keeps pi alive. >> i see the tiger as a transcendent being because he's so powerful, because he's so beautiful, because he's, he's so incomprehensible, unfathomable, and has life and death in his power, in his paws. >> reporter: as an adult, pi meets with a writer, who's heard that his story "will make you believe in god." >> i didn't know hindus say "amen." >> catholic hindus do. >> catholic hindus? >> get to feel guilty before hundreds of gods instead of just one. >> but you're a hindu first? >> none of us knows god until someone introduces us. >> reporter: so is a film about a man's search for god aimed at helping audiences find god? >> you know, you cannot tell somebody a story, or show them a movie, for them to believe in god. it wouldn't be that easy.